A few months back, state Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) director Jacob Thomas filed a formal complaint with State DGP alleging that police were tapping his phone and emails. The IPS officer cried foul that a few top officials conspired against him and trespassed into his privacy by violating all norms. 

 

Now, it has been revealed that not only the Home Department, Excise and other departments are also engaging in phone tapping, with scant regard for the norms in place. The top officials are misusing the provision that any official above IG rank could ask for phone details and demand the phone operator to provide recorded phone calls from service providers in emergency situations. Ideally, the official should get prior permission from the Home Secretary for this. If it is an urgent matter, the official above IG rank could tap phone calls for seven days without taking prior permission of the Home Secretary. 

 

Using this loophole in getting permission, the Excise Department and other officials above IG rank are sneaking into the privacy of citizens without taking any prior permissions required. Often the approval from the Home Secretary is taken for granted, and top ranking officials do not bother to seek permission at all. 

 


As per the norm, the phone tapping option is used to keep the check on top criminals and people suspected to have engaged in anti-national activities. The number of ongoing   phone tapping cases with permission from the Home Department would be less than 50. But the government has no idea of such operations undertaken without the knowledge of the government.